Sometimes I want to do a virtual scream and post my real status on Facebook. It’ll never happen. The consequences would be more trouble than it’s worth. But, right now, if I could post an honest status I would post this (and it’s long)
I have depression. The black dog. Maybe you know that already. Perhaps you have depression too. There are quite a few people on here that I know about and I’d guess quite a few that I don’t. I want to tell you about it because the black dog is making things very difficult for me at the minute and I hope that telling you will help make sense of things I do. I don’t want depression to define me. Consider this the equivalent of me getting a new kitchen or something. It’s a bit of news but doesn’t entirely sum up everything about me. You may speak to someone who’s thinking of having a new kitchen and remember that I’ve just had one. Or something like that. Let’s move on.
I know I’m not special. Trust me on that. I feel like the least special person on earth. Essentially I feel kind of pointless a lot of the time. There is nothing I bring to the party that someone else couldn’t bring better. I do hate myself. Quite a lot actually. Always have. I hide it well but if I’m ever being short or withdrawn with you it’s often because I’m a bit too busy with the voice in my head telling me how stupid I am “why did you say that? You’re so stupid. Have you even asked about the other person? Course not. Just selfishly gone on about yourself and let’s be honest there’s nothing worth hearing about there”. Well, having this in my head can make conversations uncomfortable and wearing. So I avoid. Or escape. Or listen. Have you noticed I’m a good listener? It’s because I hate speaking.
I’ve lived with the black dog all my life. I didn’t realise it wasn’t normal. In recent years he has become ferocious. He takes big, violent bites from me. I find them hard to hide. I find carrying on difficult. I do have days where I repeatedly list the reasons I need to stay alive. I cried in bed the other night because I had to stay alive. Bummer.
So I’ve decided to fight this. It isn’t easy. It’s a massive distraction from life. How can I go to Tesco when I have to debate my existential existence and purpose?!?!? I’m on anti depressants. I’m waiting assessment for psychological therapy. I’m doing what I can.
So that’s my status.
I had such a vivid dream last night. It was all about my depression. I felt the strong feelings that depression brings. It was cathartic. Like picking a scab. I didn’t want to wake up.
In one bit of the dream I was trying to explain to someone how I felt. The analogy my dream self used (ok this is getting weird) really struck a chord with me so here it is.
Imagine you’re in a box. The box is small and deep. It doesn’t have a lid. However the box is filled with water. This water is incredibly turbulent. It’s thrashing and spinning and inverting. Like a washing machine but more random. Now , depression feels like I am in that water. I do not know which way is up or which is down. I thrash and kick wildly trying to get some control over my body but I can’t because the force of the water is too strong. The box doesn’t have a lid and there is a viewing gallery around the top of the box. People are just stood there, chatting, watching me. I can’t call out for help because I can barely catch a breath. I know the people are there though so I try and thrust my hand out of the water. Please, someone, grab my hand. Why don’t they help me? Can’t they see I’m in trouble? But maybe from their angle it just looks like I’m splashing about… But I’m not! I need help. The water is going to overwhelm me. I cannot fight it for ever but I keep kicking and thrusting. And they all just stand there.
That is exactly how depression feels to me.
OK. That’s a lie. No woohoo. It’s not bad though. It’s alright.
I’m tired. Now I’ve lots of experience in the tired department but this is different. I’ve never had this kind of tired before. It’s an unnatural sleepiness. My eyes just want to close.
Also, I’m so irritable. I want to scream at people ‘fucking fuck right off you fuckity fuck!’. I have resisted.
I’m a bit Kevin (you know, Spacey?). But then I was a bit spacey before starting the flux.
The anxiety was a bit bad this morning. I was doing my weird shallow breathing thing. Had some shakes too but that’s been standard for a while now so don’t think we can pin that on the flux.
It’s been a problem for years. It makes me feel isolated and alone. I question what is wrong with me. I tumble into despair.
All I need is a friend.
There. I said it.
I have no one to support me in the ups and downs. Yes, I do have a lovely husband but emotions aren’t really his thing and shopping trips most definitely aren’t! See, it’s missing out the simple pleasures that makes life so bland. When I went shopping for my wedding dress I went alone. Afterwards I cried because watching the other brides with their gaggle of friends and family just hurt so badly.
I’d love someone to go shopping with. Instead it’s a hastily grabbed pair of £8 pumps from Tesco. Cos what’s the point? Seriously?
I’m having a real battle with my wonderful but headstrong toddler at the moment. It’s nothing special but by God it wears me down. How much would I love someone to pop round for a cuppa and to break the isolation. How wonderful must it be to have someone who gives a shit about you.
I carry the weight of the world with me with no one to lighten the load. I’m actually very aware that I have a pretty fantastic life really so I’m not talking big stuff. It’d just be so amazing to chat to someone. To have that bond. To know who you would call if you needed someone.
And a night out! Imagine! Imagine sharing wine and laughs with someone. I am so envious of all the people out there for whom this is business as usual.
I’m not greedy. Just one friend. Unfortunately desperation is not an attractive quality so I don’t see the situation changing any time soon.
So, for now, I shall continue repeating positive things to myself. I shall go to work and be friendly. I will just try and cope as best I can. And occasionally I will have a little solitary cry.
Well Woody ‘n Buzz sum it up.
Turns out I’m surrounded by Aspergers.*
Asperger #1 my boy. We’re still right at the start of assessment. Now we’re having to discuss the questions on the surveys it’s becoming clearer. One very interesting bit of it all is how my husband and I perceive things so differently. One question on the survey asked us to rate how much our son’s difficulties impacted on his social life. “Not at all!” Proclaimed the other half. “Are you joking?!” I asked. “So when he couldn’t sleep over at his friend’s house because of his anxiety – no effect? Or any other zillion examples”. “Well, that’s because of X, Y, Z reason”. I’ll admit I find the questions challenging in all different kinds of ways. Like why didn’t I notice this sooner? Or how can I not know this about my own child? You get the idea.
Aspergers #2. If you read my first ever blog post (got no friends? Blog!) then you might guess I don’t have loads of friends. You’d be right. One of my bestest, closest friends is coming to the end of the diagnosis process. She has AS. We only see each other a couple of times a year but now I’m finding her insight and experiences invaluable. She appears to be handling it all so brilliantly. It’s inspiring actually and I’m enjoying learning more about her.
Aspergers #3 My husband. So I’m speaking to my AS friend about my AS son and my friend suggests that actually maybe my husband is AS too. Whhhhhhaaaaaaat?!?!?!! This cannot be. The potential genetic link helps make the leap. Then there’s the struggles I’ve had with some of my husband’s behaviour. He is a good, kind man who really wants to do the right thing. Despite this there have been difficulties between us. Difficulties that wear me down. I am fed up having the same conversation over and over and over. When my friend suggested my husband might have AS I shrugged it off – no! Of course he doesn’t! He has some issues, yes, but not AS. anyway someone recommended that I read this book about being a partner to someone with AS. Their reasoning being that even if he isn’t AS I might find some of the support useful.
Oh my god. It describes our relationship perfectly. It’s like the author has written a summary of our relationship. The book is called “The Other Half of Aspergers” by Maxine Aston. I thoroughly recommend it if you feel your partner struggles with empathy. Like you’re crying and they don’t know to hug you type thing? Or you finish a big spiel about something that happened to you that day and they don’t so much as look up? This is the book for you!
I am now questioning what my future holds. I have known for a long time that I have no emotional support available to me and that’s a problem. Now I may have to accept that this will always be the case. That’s hard for lots of reasons that I won’t get into here.
So back to Woody and Buzz. I think if my son, best friend and husband all do have AS then yes, indeed, Aspergers everywhere. Still love ’em.
*My son has not been diagnosed. He is undergoing assessment. My saying my husband is AS is only based on my experience. He may not be.
I woke up quite happy yesterday. Then I did my usual. Grabbed my phone, checked Facebook. As usual there was absolutely zero of interest and no messages, comments or likes for anything I’d put on. As I scrolled through my “feed” (hmmm wouldn’t like to try and survive on that feed) I didn’t realise it but my good mood evaporated.
I then checked an online debating forum to see how people had responded to my thoughts. More depression from total lack of acknowledgment. So I was lying there in my bed and my good mood was gone, replaced by a feeling of being rather pointless and invisible. However I remembered that I’d woken feeling energetic and positive and it really made me think.
I decided to take action and logged out of both fb and the debate site. There! Done! Then us 4 headed off to the coast. It was good but I must confess a number of times I thought “this’d make a good pic on fb” or “ha people would find this quite funny”. I had a word with myself. Actually, no. My posts are getting 1 to 3 likes that means that most people really are not interested and don’t find it funny. Hmmmmm. Not a particularly fulfilling revelation.
We got home and as the evening quietened down I checked fb. I had missed nothing and no one had missed me. I posted this pic of my cat. I thought it was quite funny. 5 likes? Is that it?
It occurred to me that perhaps I am SO DULL that I am hidden from most of my “friends” feeds. Again, not a nice revelation.
I checked in at the debate site. Same old debates with the same old posters. I was not part of any community here. I had tried to get involved (for many months) but I wasn’t part of it.
So when I was up with the littlest Woz in the wee small hours I thought about this: I am putting my life out there, what am I getting in return? And, of course, the conclusion was nothing. I am getting nothing in return. Well, nothing positive. For what it’s worth I don’t blame Facebook for this. It’s not the platform that’s the problem, it’s my interaction with it. I am so desperate for social contact and I rely on fb for that but it just ain’t delivering. I AM boring! It’s the great fb conundrum.
I am boring so I rely on Facebook but Facebook is boring so I get nothing. I then am still boring and post boring nothingness and then feel disappointed when I get nothing back.
(That’s a lotta boring and nothing)
I checked both sites this morning. Nothing of interest. So, I closed out the debate site, put some contact details on my fb page (y’know, just in case) and LOGGED OUT.
I feel a bit nervous…what if I miss something???? I have taken away that small sliver of social interaction that I actually do have! But no. No more worshipping a false idol.
I do get the irony of posting about this on a blog but, you see, no one reads my blog 😉 I know that. I don’t use this as a social platform. So whilst riddled with irony I am happy with that.
Let’s give it a few months and see if anyone gets in touch.
I started out so well on THD. I was so happy to be rid of the food cravings. It was totally liberating! So why oh why am I cheating so much? Well, actually, cheating is the wrong word. I’m not just having a little something here and there. I think I have to admit that I am well and truly off the wagon. In fact, the wagon is just about out of sight.
So I just need to start again. Simple. Although it’s not really. There’s a little voice in my head saying “What’s the point?”, “come on you can’t be bothered”, “you’ve got so much on right now why not forget the diet for a while?”, “you’ve lost a stone, you’re no longer obese – that’ll do won’t it?”
SHUT UP. Seriously shut it.
I need a support team! Sometimes it’s just so hard to always find motivation and positivity from within. Sometimes it’d just be nice to have a gentle shove in the right direction – like riding a bike with the wind behind you rather than blowing in your face.
It’s obvious I need to restart Phase 1 completely. I can’t decide when would be best. The truth is that because I finish school for the holidays on Friday I would really like to have some wine on Friday and r-e-l-a-x. I need to decide what my plan is tonight as I’m ordering in the weekly shop. Hmmmmmm. I’ll have a think.
Well here we are. Maybe it’s autism. Maybe it’s not.
Here’s how we got here.
The boy has always been a fussy bugger. I’m pleased to say that me and MrW have the patience of saints and, save for a few sighs and eye rolls over the years, have managed his fussiness pretty well. But, the socks did it. As always in our family socks were the crux of it.
The boy started wearing 5 thick pairs of socks with his shoes so they were tight enough. The suggestion that he wear only one pair was met with anguish. We took him shoe shopping, got his feet measured and left the shop with nothing. That night I did what all frustrated parents do. Help me! Google! Well, straight away Google provided and answer – Sensory Processing Disorder! I read the info with curiosity. Very quickly I was reading out statements to MrW. Stuff along the lines of “struggles with changes to routine”. We agreed that the list of symptoms matched the boy closely. I didn’t know what to think or feel. I struggled to fall asleep that night.
Was SPD a real condition? Isn’t it just fussy kids?
Have we been harsh on the boy? Has he been genuinely struggling?
Am I being daft? He’s just normal.
How do we get help?
What if the dr doesn’t believe us?
What can be done?
As I did more research I found that Occupational Therapy was needed. Luckily a very good friend of mine has a lovely OT girlfriend. So me and the OT had a very pleasant phone chat and she said something that I’ve long wondered: have you considered autism?
Now we wait.
The first GP appointment I can get is weeks away. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a referral to OT. I don’t know what to hope for. I don’t want him to have difficulties. I guess it doesn’t matter whatever label he gets, if any. He’s still the boy. My boy. I love him just as he is. But if we can get support and make the boy happier then THAT would be wonderful.
So for now, maybe it’s autism. Maybe it isn’t.
My first blog.
I guess it’s just some words! So, just get on! I’ve got lots of things to share and I hope they’re make an occasionally interesting read.
The things that I’ll be blogging about will be motherhood, teaching, the harcombe diet, uk politics, science, as well as some personal stories.
Stuff often happens and I think “I must tell someone that!”. Then I wonder who I should tell. I have friends but hey, they’re busy and sometimes it feels a bit weird to just ring up and say omg! I saw a dog today that looked like a hot dog! So, hello internet.
Be gentle. Be kind. Hey, I’m the new guy.